I was enjoying a nice, quiet get-to-know-you lunch with my characters when Bethany dropped a bombshell.

Even in “Blind Date Bride,” I knew that Beth was different. She’s the one who tried to get Kari to get in touch with her inner tramp, and who told Kari, “Keep a man happy in bed and he’ll keep you happy out of it.”

Yes, my Bethany LOVES sex. She’s been around the block so many times the sidewalk was named after her. (It bothers her a little that she’s had more partners than Cody, even though he’s 3 years older, but it bothers her more that he’s more content to cuddle than burn up the bedsheets.)

While I was jotting notes about their appearances and history, Beth revealed something surprising. Scratch that: It went beyond surprising and landed smack-dab in the middle of  astonishing land.

It turns out Bethany had her first sexual experience at 14 years old. Wait — that’s not the surprising part. At 16, her mom kicked her out of the house for trying to seduce her stepfather. (It didn’t happen … it was all in mom’s head, but it still left Bethany estranged from her mom and kid sister.)  She moved in with her aunt to finish high school, then went off to college, where she met Kari (and spent a lot of time on her back, staring at frat house ceilings).

I have no idea what to do with that tidbit. Where does it fit into the story? Will she reconnect with mom? Will she finally realize that there’s more to a good relationship than great sex? (I think she has to … and in the realization, sex with Cody will go beyond great to soul-shattering.)

Anyway, nothing Cody has come out with is all that surprising. It’s not that I find him boring … in fact, he’s shaping up to be one of my favorite heroes (right behind Mike James and Damien). But so far, he’s pretty tame. There is something in his past, alluded to in Kari and Damien’s story, but so far, he’s mum about what it is.

A counselor for at-risk teens, he’s working long hours (which concerns Beth because he’s sometimes — often — too tired to get busy) in part to save up for an engagement ring. He believes actions speak louder than words (and thinks spending the day shopping tells Beth he loves her). Above all, he likes being comfortable, which is why he’s often content to cuddle. Even in high school, he wasn’t one of those guys who was always trying to get some.

I probably need to get to the bottom of that before I get too far into the story.

Right now, I’m in Chapter 3. And, to borrow a catchphrase from McDonald’s, I’m lovin’ it … surprises and all.

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